Solomon wins Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace at Mighty M
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With the temperature hovering around 10 degrees and snowflakes softly falling Jim King Solomon reined Blackjack Magic to a 2:00.4 victory in Monticello Raceway’s ninth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pace on Thursday, a race which featured the talents of African-American drivers.
Sent off as the betting favorite from the pole position, Solomon sent Blackjack Magic immediately to the lead and played hardball by not allowing Artristocracy and local driver Cedric Washington to take command as the field headed to the quarter pole which forced Washington to take back and find a seat in the rear.
After the first stanza was paced in :29, Solomon and Blackjack Magic were unchallenged on the front end as they headed for the halfway point. They led the field by that stanza in :59.4 with Bing N, driven by Don Simmonds from Vernon Downs, tucked in comfortably enjoying a two-hole trip.
As Blackjack Magic headed toward the three-quarter pole Simmonds moved Bing N out to challenge and the two pacers raced head-to-head into the final turn. But as they straightened for home Blackjack Magic drew off to a two-length lead which was needed as Bing N rallied late and was gaining in the final strides only to run out of racetrack.
Blackjack Magic finished a head in front of Bing N with Artristocracy third in the mile. Fourth place went to Flying Aftermidnite driven by local horseman, Bobby “Boonie” Williams
Before the race Solomon said he checked the official program and thought he had the best horse but when Bing N made the strong move in the final turn he wasn’t as sure at that point.
Earlier in the day Jim King Solomon drove up from Freehold Raceway with his friend Dennis Watson, last year\'s Dr. King Pace winner, for the competition and several others in the contest drove in from out of town tracks.
George Newell, who finished fifth with Half Life, came up from Yonkers Raceway and George Polk Jr., who finished sixth with Big Horn, was in from Dover Downs
But Solomon’s buddy Watson didn’t fare very well and finished last. He had drawn a longshot in Tycoon Ernesto N and had post position seven to boot.
However, Watson put it all in perspective.
“Oh well, you can’t win’em all,” he said philosophically. “At least I won the Dr. King race last year!” (Monticello)